Any native Northern Californian knows that there’s only one really great place in the region to get certified in scuba diving—the Monterey Bay. Even if you go to a dive school up in the Bay Area, they’ll take you down to Monterey for your open-water dive. Accordingly, dozens of dive schools cluster in and around the town of Monterey (check Carmel and Santa Cruz as well, if you prefer).
The Monterey Bay Dive Company (225 Cannery Row, 831/656-0454, www.mbdcscuba.com) sits right in the midst of Cannery Row, where all visitors to Monterey eventually end up. You can take dive classes year-round, get certified, rent equipment, fill your own tanks, and even take a quick dive right off San Carlos Beach just behind the dive shop. Monterey Bay Dive Company also maintains its own dive boat, offering both boat and shore guided dive tours of the famous Monterey Bay undersea world.
Another of your many dive shop options is the Aquarius Dive Shop (2040 Del Monte Ave., 831/375-1933, www.aquariusdivers.com). Aquarius offers everything you need to go diving out in Monterey Bay, including air and nitrox fills, equipment rental, certification courses, and help booking a trip on a local dive boat. Aquarius works with four boats to create great trips for divers of all interests and ability levels. Call or check the website for current local dive conditions as well.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition